Elfrid Payton

Elfrid Payton

27-Year-Old GuardG
Phoenix Suns  NBA  
Phoenix Suns
2021 Fantasy Outlook
This season is actually Payton's second tour of duty with the Suns, having spent 19 games with the team back in 2017-18. At that time, however, the team brought him in to be their starting point guard and, while he rewarded them with two triple-doubles in his first nine games (an NBA record), his poor shooting percentages and average defense made him expendable at the end of the season. Fast forward four years, and the former top-10 pick, who has also had stints with the Magic and Knicks with varying success (just 10.1 points, 43.2% shooting, 0.4 threes and 3.2 assists last year as a starter), is back on Phoenix. This time, it's for the league-minimum salary with lower expectations for his role on the team. He will slot in as the third-string point guard behind Chris Paul and Cameron Payne and be asked to provide leadership and playmaking ability while on the floor. Payton still has the ability to get to the rim and, with Phoenix's style of play, he should be able to effectively dish to one of the many capable shooters on the floor. However, given his limited role, Payton's fantasy production will be limited, and he's only worthy of a late-round flyer if you're banking on an injury to Paul or Payne. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $2.24 million contract with the Suns in August of 2021.
Personal Bio/PreCareer Summary

Elfrid Payton Jr. was born in Gretna, Louisiana in 1994. Payton is the second oldest of six children to Elfrid Sr. and Danielle Payton, the only boy. His father was a star in the CFL, recording 154 sacks in 15 seasons, and was enshrined in 2010 to the Canadian Football Hall-of-Fame. Payton spent three years at John Ehret High School in Marrero, Louisiana, where he averaged 12.8 points, 5.2 assists and 4.1 steals as a senior to earn district MVP honors, helping lead the team to a 30-4 record. The summer before his junior year at Lousiana-Lafayette, Payton represented the United States at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship, starting all nine games and helping the team to a gold medal. As a member of the Magic, Payton received the 2017 Rich and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award for his charity work with the Central Florida community. Payton also started the The Elfrid Payton Foundation, which runs a 10-week arts program for fifth graders to expose students to poetry, music, dance and painting. You can follow Elfrid Payton on Twitter and Instagram @Elfrid. Payton spent three years at guard for Louisiana-Lafayette from 2011 to 2014. The 6-foot-3 native of New Orleans was a spot starter as a freshman and provided 7.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists over 23 minutes per contest. In his sophomore season, Payton moved into the starting lineup. He was named to the All-Sun Belt First Team after averaging 15.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.4 steals per game. The guard had a near-triple-double with 13 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists in a loss to Florida International. After his sophomore season, Payton started for Team USA in the 2013 FIBA Under-19 World Championships. The team won the tournament. Payton then led the Ragin' Cajuns with 19.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game during his junior season. Payton had five double-doubles and a triple-double with 34 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in a double-overtime loss to UL-Monroe. UL-Lafayette won the Sun Belt Tournament and Payton averaged 16.7 points and 7.0 assists per conference tournament game. Then, in the NCAA Tournament, Payton had 24 points with eight rebounds in the first round loss to Creighton. At the close of his junior season, Payton won the 2014 Lefty Driesell Award as the National Defensive Player of the Year. With one season of eligibility remaining, the guard opted for the 2014 draft.

Clears protocols
GPhoenix Suns
December 30, 2021
Payton (COVID-19) has cleared the NBA's health and safety protocols, Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic reports.
ANALYSIS
Payton has now been in and out of protocols twice during this week alone and has been cleared once again ahead of Friday's game against the Celtics. The 27-year-old has played a depth role behind Chris Paul and Cameron Payne this season, averaging 3.5 points and 2.1 rebounds in 12.1 minutes per game.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
Last season was a campaign marked by injuries for Payton, who appeared in just 45 contests due to an ankle injury. When on the court, however, he proved to be a reliable option for fantasy managers. In his first season with the Knicks, Payton averaged 10.0 points, 7.2 assists, 4.7 boards and 1.6 steals. While those numbers were solid, Payton's shooting was a different story. The point guard shot 43.9 percent from the floor but was extremely inefficient from both the free-throw line (57.0 percent) and from deep (20.3 percent). Payton was a fine starter in points leagues when healthy, but his shooting proved to be a liability in category leagues. An improvement in his shooting would be a major boost to his value, and as long as he stays healthy in 2020-21, Payton has top-75 upside in points leagues. Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr. shouldn't cut significantly into Payton's usage, and he should remain the starting point guard on Broadway.
After spending 31 of the first 36 games of the 2018-19 season on the sideline with a sprained ankle, Payton went on to produce solid all-around numbers in 42 appearances with the Pelicans. The 24-year-old point guard started every game he played in New Orleans, averaging 10.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and a career-high 7.6 assists across 29.8 minutes per game. He also had a stretch in February where he recorded five straight triple-doubles. Now, Payton enters a situation in New York with a backcourt filled with young talent, including the likes of Dennis Smith, Kadeem Allen, Frank Ntilikina, Allonzo Trier and rookie R.J. Barrett, all of whom could serve as the team's primary ball-handler. With that, it's unclear exactly where Payton will fit into the rotation, especially since the Knicks acquired Dennis Smith as their apparent point guard of the future in the Kristaps Prozingis trade last season. However, given their free agent signings this offseason, it's clear the Knicks are looking to put a more competitive product on the court this season, and with Payton's production last season and his existing chemistry with Julius Randle from their time in New Orleans, the point guard could have a leg-up on the competition in the early goings of the season. The biggest issue for Payton remains his ineffective shooting ability, as he shot just 31.4 percent from behind the arc and 43.4 percent from the field overall last season.
A disrupted 2017-18 season meant Payton found it difficult to find any rhythm. A hamstring injury cost him almost 20 games early in the season and after making his return in Orlando, he was shipped off to Phoenix for minimal return. He was excellent through his first few games before essentially falling out of the rotation for a team that had clearly shifted toward tanking. After losing Rajon Rondo to the Lakers, the Pelicans decided Payton was worth a look, and there's a good chance he'll claim the starting point guard spot. The Louisiana native has a unique skillset for a guard, offering decent out-of-position numbers on the glass, as well as strong assists and defensive stats. However, Payton does not possess a strong perimeter game and is a sub-30 percent three-point shooter for his career. Even so, Payton has managed to maintain an efficient mark from the field, overall (45.7% career FG). A fresh start and the potential to battle for a spot in the first unit could result in an uptick in production. That said, Payton begins his tenure in New Orleans with plenty to prove after failing to live up to his billing in Orlando as a top-10 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
The 2017-18 campaign will be Payton’s fourth year in the league. While he arguably hasn’t played up to his 10th overall pick expectations, he’s been steadily improving since he first took the floor back in 2014. For example, over the past two seasons, Payton has improved his true shooting percentage and assist rate while dropping his turnover rate, despite seeing an increased usage rate – a difficult task to accomplish. He saw fluctuating roles last season, largely as a result of coach Frank Vogel tweaking his starting five due the team’s overall struggles, but posted 12.8 points, 6.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals across 29.4 minutes per game. He also shot a career-high 47.1 percent from the field, but remains a non-factor from beyond the arc, hitting just 0.5 threes per game at a 27.4 percent clip. Maybe most notably, however, especially for those who play DFS, was Payton’s stat sheet stuffing in March and beyond. In the final 22 games of the season, he dropped five triple-doubles while averaging 13.6 points, 8.6 assists, 7.1 rebounds and 1.0 steal across 30.5 minutes while shooting 51.2 percent from the field. With the Magic doing very little to bolster the point guard slot for the upcoming season – retaining D.J. Augustin and signing Shelvin Mack – Payton looks to be in line for a similar role. Assuming he continues improving, albeit subtly, Payton could end up being a top-15 Fantasy point guard considering his proficiency in passing and rebounding while providing fair value as a scorer and defender.
Though he boosted his all-around numbers from his rookie season, Payton didn't exhibit the exponential growth some were anticipating in his second NBA season. Injury problems may have been a major reason why, as Payton was limited by an ankle sprain in the preseason and ended up sitting out nine games during the regular season with a bone bruise on his ankle and a strained elbow. Though nine missed games won't derail a season, it was uncharted territory nonetheless for Payton, who played in all 82 contests as a rookie and said he hadn't missed a single competitive game dating back to middle school. Despite the setback, Payton was able to end the second half on a high note, finishing the campaign with improvements in his field-goal (42.5% in 2014-15, 43.6% in 2015-16), free-throw (55.1%, 58.9%) and three-point (26.2%, 32.6%), percentages from the year before. That being said, those shooting marks are still quite ugly by point guard standards and really hurt Payton's value in rotisserie leagues, where benching him was often justified. Even with some further improvement in his shooting during the upcoming season, Payton is still a toxic entity in those formats, but he'll carry plenty of appeal in points leagues. With averages of 6.4 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game last season and three career triple-doubles under his belt, the 22-year-old has already has shown promise in the secondary categories, and he should assume more scoring responsibilities with Victor Oladipo no longer a part of the Magic's backcourt mix after getting traded to the Thunder in June.
Payton was one of 27 players to suit up for all 82 games last season. He began the year as the Magic's starting point guard due to Victor Oladipo's facial fracture, was later replaced in the starting lineup when Oladipo returned, but by late December, Payton reclaimed the starting gig permanently. In 30 minutes per contest, the 21-year-old point guard recorded 8.9 points, 6.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.7 steals while shooting 43 percent from the field and a dismal 55 percent from the free-throw line. Not only does Payton struggle finishing at the rim, converting a league-worst 49 percent in the restricted area among those with at least 275 attempts, but his accuracy drastically declines the further he extends from the basket. Defenses routinely sagged off Payton on the perimeter, neutralizing driving lanes and collapsing the paint. Conversely, he recorded a team-high 101.6 offensive rating, rarely turned the ball over, exhibits tenacious defensive wherewithal, and cleaned up his free-throw percentage at the end of the season by converting 73 percent over the final 14 games. Payton spent the summer working with shooting coach Dave Love, and he's expected to retain the starting point guard job under new coach Scott Skiles.
Elfrid Payton joins the league after being the 10th selection in June's NBA draft. During his final season at Louisiana-Lafayette, the junior guard averaged 19.2 points, 5.9 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 0.6 blocks in 36 minutes per game over the course of 35 games. The Lefty Driesell Award winner (Defensive POY) shot 51 percent from the field on 13.3 field goal attempts per game and 61 percent from the line on 8.6 free throw attempts per game. He was second in all of Division I basketball in free-throw attempts (302), assists (208), and steals (80). More egregiously, he led the NCAA in turnovers (127) and was only able to convert 26 percent of his three-point attempts. Jameer Nelson, E'Twaun Moore, and Ronnie Price are no longer on the roster, but Luke Ridnour was signed in free agency, and all signs point toward Payton accruing substantial minutes as the one of the primary Magic point guards. Payton lead the Orlando Pro Summer League with an impressive 7.0 assists in just under 26 minutes per game but also finished first in turnovers (4.0 per game). His quickness allows him to get to the rim with ease, a tactic likely aided by the Channing Frye signing. Payton and his percentages aren't rotisserie friendly. There a lot of holes in the rookie's game, but he has tantalizing potential, especially for head-to-head leagues. Payton has a slender frame, is ineffective catching and shooting the ball, and lacks an off-the-dribble jumper. His shooting woes also work against him at the free-throw line, making him a dangerous play in nine-category rotisserie leagues.
More Fantasy News
Re-enters protocols, out Wednesday
GPhoenix Suns
Covid-19
December 29, 2021
Payton (COVID-19 health and safety protocols) won't play in Wednesday's game against the Thunder, Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic reports.
ANALYSIS
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Small role in Monday's loss
GPhoenix Suns
December 28, 2021
Payton (COVID-19 health and safety protocols) played nine minutes and finished with two points (1-3 FG), two rebounds and one steal in Monday's 114-113 loss to the Grizzlies.
ANALYSIS
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Clears protocols, available Monday
GPhoenix Suns
December 27, 2021
Payton cleared the COVID-19 protocols and will be available for Monday's game against the Grizzlies, Kellan Olson of ArizonaSports.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Enters health and safety protocols
GPhoenix Suns
Covid-19
December 26, 2021
Payton was placed in the league's health and safety protocols Sunday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
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Shines in season debut
GPhoenix Suns
October 24, 2021
Payton registered 14 points (6-11 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 2-2 FT), six assists, four rebounds and one steal over 25 minutes Saturday in a loss to the Trail Blazers.
ANALYSIS
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